frail·​ty ˈfrāl-tē How to pronounce frailty (audio)
plural frailties
: the quality or state of being frail
the frailty of her health
the frailty and disability in the elderly
: a fault due to weakness especially of moral character
Satire … often employs irony and sarcasm to denounce the frailties and faults of mankind.Harry Shaw
Choose the Right Synonym for frailty

fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice mean an imperfection or weakness of character.

fault implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit.

a writer of many virtues and few faults

failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character.

being late is a failing of mine

frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation.

human frailties

foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy.

an eccentric's charming foibles

vice can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others.

compulsive gambling was his vice

Examples of frailty in a Sentence

the frailty of her voice We can no longer be surprised by the frailties of our political leaders.
Recent Examples on the Web In both instances, the frailty of Burna Boy’s attempt at prophetism came into focus. Lawrence Burney, Vulture, 31 Aug. 2023 Their geriatric accessories are the primary reminder of their frailty. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, 21 Aug. 2023 But letting go often follows forgiveness, and forgiveness often follows recognition of our own frailty, even our 0.1 percent. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2023 But the network’s persistent harping on Mr. Biden’s frailties may have inadvertently undercut any effort to build up Mr. DeSantis’s campaign. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, 20 Aug. 2023 Too much has been made of Feinstein’s physical frailties — especially her use of a wheelchair. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 14 Aug. 2023 Obstetrics is a specialty constructed with the belief that Black pregnant bodies tolerate more pain and are predisposed to disease, while white pregnant bodies’ frailty requires expert control—medical arts, tools, drugs. Allison Yarrow, ELLE, 24 July 2023 Instead, being overweight may be beneficial for older adults, while being notably thin can be problematic, contributing to the potential for frailty. Judith Graham, oregonlive, 19 July 2023 Telling the story of Tina and Ike, this relationship and the resiliency of this woman — the frailties, the strength and the brilliance of these two individuals who made such a profound impact during their time together and apart. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 25 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'frailty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English frelete, freelte, borrowed from Anglo-French freleté, going back to Latin fragilitāt-, fragilitās, from fragilis "liable to break, weak, fragile" + -itāt-, -itās -ity

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of frailty was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near frailty

Cite this Entry

“Frailty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


frail·​ty ˈfrā(-ə)l-tē How to pronounce frailty (audio)
plural frailties
: the quality or state of being frail
: a weakness of character

More from Merriam-Webster on frailty

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